Meet Electraply, a dashing wooden e-bike that blends classic motorcycle looks and sustainable design in one pot. The electric bike is made almost entirely from plywood (hence the name) and can reach a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph), according to an email sent to IE.
A contemporary woodworker's sustainable project
The inspiration for the all-electric bike was born out of designer Evie Bee's passion for vintage cafe racer and scrambler motorcycles and her desire to salute and to keep these iconic elements alive through her modern interpretation. Being a conscious woodworker, Bee is striving to bring sustainable design, modern manufacturing methods, and traditional construction techniques together in her works.
On her website, Bee further explains that "[she] felt this project would be a perfect and challenging opportunity to bring all these interests together and push my making skills to the limit. One of the other motivating factors for me choosing to make this bike was the desire to fulfill my dream of owning and riding my own e-bike."
Building the Electraply
After searching through various scrambler motorcycles, Bee decided to model hers after the Yamaha SR 250 Scrambler due to the fact that it is one of the most popular donor bikes for custom scrambler motorcycle projects.
With layers of sustainable poplar plywood were milled on a CNC machine and steel parts cut on a plasma cutter, the project began to take shape. Including its battery and motor, the bike weighs around 66 lbs (30 kg) which is around the same weight as fat tire e-bikes that usually range from 55 to 77 lbs (25/35 kg). To keep the weight down, poplar plywood was used for the central frame, Bee told IE.
For extra strength, birch plywood is used for the outer frame pieces, and the dropouts are made of stainless steel. While it's not a dainty piece of work, it's sure built to be sturdy. As for the motor, Bee used a 26" smart pie front-wheel motor and a 36v 12.5ah Yose power battery.
The ingenious solutions in the making of the bike
One of the questions Evie frequently got was why she didn't hide the battery. To which she replied: "Since the bike design was inspired by scrambler motorbikes, which have their gas tanks very visible. I wanted to carry this through into my own design, but swap the gas tank out for a battery!"
She had to use V-brakes for her bike as the forks were salvaged from an old jump bike that wasn't able to accept new disk brakes. About her bike's brake system, Bee told Interesting Engineering that, "The front brake is electronically wired into the motor, meaning that when the brake is pressed, the motor will stop accordingly. It is a fine solution for now, but the forks shall certainly be the first thing I upgrade once I have the money." She also said that she's aware that it will be a necessity when the design is commercialized, and added, "The rear wheel is also fitted with a coaster brake, so there is some extra security there."
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Evie Bee is currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for the Electraply, and you can submit your e-mail if you'd like to be notified when the bike becomes available. And if you've been as charmed with the process as we are, why not try your hand at building a DIY wooden e-bike with the instructive booklets on her website?